Forensic Entomology

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This chapter discusses forensic entomology, which includes any situation in which insects or their actions become evidence within the legal system. Medicocriminal entomology involves insects as evidence in a criminal case, most frequently homicide, and this is the area that has been most closely associated with the term "forensic entomology" by the general public and most entomologists. The use of insects and other arthropods as evidence in criminal investigations dates from 12th century China. The use of insects to estimate the postmortem interval requires an understanding of the insect's life cycle, the relationship of the insect to the remains, and the relationship of the remains to the habitat in which they are discovered. Insects pass through a number of distinct stages during their life cycle. Using a blowfly in the family Calliphoridae as an example, the female fly arrives at the body and deposits eggs in body openings associated with the head, anus, and genitals, or in wounds. After hatching, larvae or maggots feed on the decomposing tissues. There are three larval stages, with a molt in between each stage. Once the maggot is fully developed, it ceases to feed and moves away from the remains before pupariation. The puparium is an inactive stage during which the larval tissues are reorganized to produce the adult fly. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.




Goff, M. L. (2009). Forensic Entomology. In Encyclopedia of Insects (pp. 381–386). Elsevier Inc.

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